Remodeling a historic Tudor home requires an approach where a traditional aesthetic and material palette combine with modern, sturdy and comfortable furnishings, according to interior designer Jessica Helgerson.
Indeed, it’s vital — and possible — to honor a home’s history without turning it into living museum. “We want to create spaces with story and substance,” adds Krista Nye Nicholas, partner and principal designer at Cloth & Kind. “It is important to take into account the elements that make the home special.”
By preserving period details while updating for both functionality and style, these designers have devised livable interiors that combine the best of past and present.
“We wanted the bright living room to be a counterpoint to the family room,” Jessica Helgerson says of this house in Portland, Oregon, the city where she’s based. “Big mirrors reflect the city view and the furniture is bold and airy, in particular thanks to thin elegant legs. The rug brings a traditional anchoring feeling to the otherwise modern furnishings.”
The orange FH419 Heritage chair is by Fritz Henningsen for Carl Hansen & Son, the blue Saari sofa is by Arper, the Terranova coffee table is from 1stdibs and the seven-globe branching bubble light fixture is by Lindsey Adelman. Between the two black Hardy leather chairs, the Drum side table was designed by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin. The Grue floor lamp is by Lambert & Fils.
“The kitchen carries on the existing palette of rich dark woods and warm terra-cotta,” Helgerson says. “The wall tile is a careful work of art where the corner pieces on the hood were custom fabricated. The glaze changes at the edge of each tile. The result is subtle but meticulous in its details. The bronze sink adds warmth and depth to the room.”
The counters are Pyrolave, a durable glazed lava stone. The hand-painted tiles are by Pratt & Larson and the island was custom designed by Helgerson.
“We added big French doors and additional windows to the family room to bring in more light, but the room is so massive and masculine that any addition had to match that in scale,” Helgerson notes. “The woodwork blends so seamlessly you absolutely can’t tell new from old. That is entirely to the credit of Green Gables, the contractor.”
The Avery armchairs are by Pinch Design, the Crosshatch chair is by Eoos for Geiger from Herman Miller and the Tutty-Too sofa is by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia. The Halo chandelier is by Roll & Hill and the Moroccan Berber rug is from 1stdibs.
“The master bedroom is totally transformed, but I’m really proud of how original it feels,” Helgerson confesses. “I particularly love the new window seat, upholstered in beautiful crewel work. The furnishings are simple and pretty masculine, with a traditional Louis Philippe cabinet from 1stdibs and a rug anchoring a more modern bed.”
Cloth & Kind
“The challenge was making this home feel much brighter in order to offset the deep tones of the wood throughout,” says Krista Nye Nicholas, partner and principal interior designer at Cloth & Kind, says of this Tudor home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “Clothing the stucco walls in a fresh white and layering in warm, blush tones throughout created the perfect space to cozy up. The custom window seat is intended for taking full advantage of the natural light, and it shapes a warm space to be enjoyed year-round.”
“Making use of the odd nooks and crannies in a historic home is a natural way to create something unexpected,” Nye Nicholas says. “Filling this small space with layers of pattern makes it the perfect perch for a quiet afternoon with a book.”
A pair of brass sconces by Visual Comfort flank the window above the Noir Lagos leg bench, which is upholstered in Lee Jofa linen. The vintage Kurdish rug from Central Turkey came from Double Knot, and the wallpaper is by Celerie Kemble for Schumacher.
In front of the living room fireplace, a pair of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Zondra slipper chairs upholstered in Kravet velvet are positioned in front of a granite-topped coffee table. The Dionne underlay rug is from Stark, and the Konya overlay rug is from Eliko Antique & Decorative Rugs.
“We love celebrating local artisans, and we are thrilled when our clients wish to cultivate a home that is significant to their area,” Nye Nicholas says. “The colorful painting by local artist Ruth Gilmore Langs sets the stage for the room and provides a dramatic and colorful backdrop to the space. The client’s existing antique chair and ottoman, so boldly updated with Peter Dunham’s ikat fabric, provides a sense of provenance that every historic home needs while creating a new story.”
The Tony side table in antique gold and mirror top is from Oly Studio. The Clarkson floor lamp in black and hand-rubbed antique brass is by Visual Comfort.
“This cozy family room is located in a historic Atlee B. Ayres–designed Tudor-style home from the early 20th century located in San Antonio,” says says Texas designer Melissa Morgan, founder of M Interiors. “It is a family gathering point, with plenty of space for playing cards, reading a book or watching TV. The coffered ceiling adds structure to the room and highlights a pair of large vintage chandeliers. The fabrics and furnishings are meant to be durable enough to withstand daily use yet keep with the overall classic, traditional style of the home. We decided to emphasize warm tones with green accents for an inviting and relaxed atmosphere.”
On the left is a bergère attributed to Maison Jansen and purchased from Greenwich Living Antiques & Design Center. Between the George Cameron Nash club chairs is a 20th-century French red-lacquered end table from Antiques Period. The space also includes an antique Oushak rug and a 17th-century Italian commode.
“The master bedroom was designed to be a beautiful refuge for the owners,” Morgan says. “The soft muted colors add to this effect. We elected to cover the walls in a custom Gracie wallpaper and Jim Thompson silk curtains for a serene feel. We also added the settee in the window niche — a great place to curl up and read a book.”
“This first-floor hallway serves at the entry into this grand home,” Morgan says. “We chose to use a mix of antiques and contemporary art for a light feel. The mid-century Marbro brass peacock lamps, which were sourced from 1stdibs, add a touch of whimsy to the serious antiques.”
“The design of this room centered around the cozy fireplace,” Morgan explains. “The clients desired a space in which family and friends could gather in an informal setting. Fabrics and furnishings were chosen for comfort as well as their classic style. The warm tones of fabrics were meant to complement the rich woods found in the windows and ceiling.”
In front of the vintage green leather Chesterfield sofa is a shagreen coffee table that was sourced from 1stdibs. The Maison Charles et Fils Pommes de Pin lamp, the antique wing chair covered in Travers fabric and the antique French provincial bonnetiere are also from 1stdibs. The pair of custom club chairs with a fabric by Rogers & Goffigon are from George Cameron Nash.
“This project was a comprehensive remodel and expansion of a 1920s French Tudor-style home,” Chicago designer Summer Thornton says of this house in Bloomington, Illinois. “It had tons of storybook charm from the outside, and the client loved the location on a picturesque country club lane overlooking the golf course, but the interior was last updated in the ’80s and needed a refresh.”
“The dining room is the first space you see as you enter the home,” Thornton says. “When the homeowner purchased the house, it was faux-painted with a floral motif and faux-textured walls. We felt it needed a cleaner, crisper aesthetic. And particularly for evening entertaining, we thought this could be the one space that really was more dramatic and dark. We gutted everything except the original molding detail on the ceiling. Since the rest of the home was light and bright, which is great for day-to-day living, this was an opportunity to make a statement and create a sultrier mood.”
“This is a guest bathroom that highlights the curves and roofline of the home,” Thornton notes. “Its charm is in its quaintness, but we really optimized the space with custom built-ins behind the commode.” The vanity is by Bradley, the fixtures are by Waterworks and the flooring is from Granada Tile.
“This breakfast area was previously a screened-in porch, but we extended the house and closed it in to help extend the kitchen area and make the space usable year round,” Thornton explains. “We added steel doors and windows as well as a fireplace breakfast table and couch for lounging. This made the home operate the way many people prefer today, with the opportunity to be near the kitchen where meals are prepared.”